A tweet from TSN’s Mark Masters (@markhmasters) is making the round this afternoon, which quotes Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman James Wisniewski saying the Columbus Blue Jackets get the “short end of the stick” when it comes to scheduling, mainly because they are a new team.
Wisniewski says CBJ gets “short end of the stick” re: scheduling bc franchise hasn’t been in league that long
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) November 25, 2013
While I can understand Wisniewski’s frustration with the long road trip (the Jackets started in Ottawa, made their way across western Canada, and then flew back to play Toronto), every team faces rough patches in their schedule. The Rangers opened their season on the road due to MSG renovations, and the realignment plans (mainly to appease the Blue Jackets and Red Wings) leave Tampa Bay and Florida with the longest travel schedules out of any team.
A difficult schedule, complimented by several injuries are the type of thing that test a team and see if they can handle the rigors of an NHL schedule. So far, the Jackets are failing that test miserably. Instead of complaining about the schedule, maybe the Columbus Blue Jackets need to take a look in the mirror and take some responsibility for the way this road trip has gone.
The NHL did the Blue Jackets a favor by moving them to the Eastern Conference. As Wisniewski later pointed out to Masters, the Jackets are only 5 points out of a playoff spot. If they were still in the West, they would be 13 points out and already planning the fire sale. While the schedule has been difficult over the last two weeks, the Jackets are not performing in the comforts of their own division either. The only Metropolitan victories 25% through the season are two against the Islanders, and one against the Devils. So it isn’t just a smear campaign by the schedulers that has the Jackets in the Metropolitan Division basement.
It is very disappointing to see Wisniewski make excuses for the Jackets performance. John Davidson stated today that the team is still not ready to name a captain, and comments like Wisniewski’s re-enforce the belief that no one has stepped up yet. I know Wisniewski just bumped himself down my list.
Fortunately, some players appear to get it. Nick Foligno acknowledged the difficult schedule, but said that the trip is a good test for the team. While it has not gone as planned, if the Jackets can learn some lessons from it, and not make excuses, they could use this as a building block to recover the season.
Tags: Columbus Blue Jackets